September 29, 2020

Americans intercede in prayer in nation’s capital on day of repentance, Prayer March

 Two prayer and worship events emphasizing repentance and intercession for the nation brought tens of thousands to the National Mall on Saturday, with many crying out to God for divine intervention. 

Under mostly cloudy skies, both The Return and the Washington Prayer March brought Christians from every part of the country to pray amid a tumultuous political season.

Kelly Hopwood of Virginia Beach, Virginia, spoke to The Christian Post in front of the Washington Monument and explained that she initially traveled to Washington to be a part of Franklin Graham's Prayer March but arrived early enough to also take part in The Return. In recent days she kept hearing the scripture passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14 reverberate in her heart and felt compelled to pray in the nation's capital, she said.

The Bible passage reads: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

"We need to be doing that [praying] right now because things aren't going to get any better. I know God's in control ultimately, but we also need to be the people He's called us to be," Hopwood, a mother and grandmother, said.

Asked if she has hope for divine intervention, she replied, "Oh, absolutely. Without a doubt."

Earlier this week, Hopwood picked up Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's newest book The Harbinger II and said she couldn't put it down. The last chapter of the book speaks of coming and praying on the National Mall, and she knew she had to make the trip. Cahn delivered a prophetic message on the Mall at 11 a.m. that was, in part, derived from the book.

For Renee and Steve Beckwith of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who traveled to Washington with three of their four children, the coronavirus pandemic changed everything for them in terms of how they saw the Church and its relationship to the government.

"All of COVID has been life-changing for our family," Renee Beckwith told CP.

Restrictions were particularly stringent in the Wolverine state and churches shut down quickly, with many giving in quickly to the call to not gather together.

"It saddened our hearts, and we knew that the church was not strong anymore. We felt that we weren't walking with the Lord strong enough, and so when we're called to stand for something different we don't have that within our hearts. We were sad that so many people were willing to stay home and not be together to worship," she said.

The couple were so distressed they left their home church which they had been a part of for 14 years and found a church that stayed open the entire time.

Steve Beckwith added that he was stirred "being around so many believers, seeing that we're not alone in this fight."

"This nation does need to turn back to God. And it's good to see that there are so many other people here standing with us because we don't get to see that on a daily basis."

Many who showed up for The Return, which was held in front of the Washington Monument and near the Smithsonian, migrated down the Lincoln Memorial, where Franklin Graham began the Prayer March at noon. Graham's march was a 1.8-mile trek from the memorial to the Capitol building, making several stops along the way to pray specifically for the protection for our first responders, police, and U.S. service members; wisdom for government leaders; reconciling divisions, and for the return of the U.S. to its Judeo-Christian roots.

Rob Houghtlin, a marketing and sales professional from Marietta, Georgia, said he and his wife decided to pray at the National Mall at the encouragement of good friends from Michigan who joined them.

"We are in need of supernatural movement [of God] in this country right now," he said.

With the racial and political divisions manifesting in recent days, he added, "it's incredibly important for us to display humility and repentance back to our Savior."

"I hope America sees a portion of its people wanting the best for it and turning to Jesus and to the Lord God Almighty to heal what's going on in this land, and to not fight more but to learn how to get together," Houghtlin added.

Houghtlin is the University of Iowa football kicker who made the famous game-winning field goal in the 1985 Iowa-Michigan game. The final score was 12-10, with Houghtlin making the successful 29-yard kick as the last seconds of the game expired on the clock.

As marchers made their way toward from the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II Memorial and then on to the Capitol, small groups spontaneously started singing hymns, including "Amazing Grace" and "Blessed Assurance" and the contemporary song "Days of Elijah." Others broke off into small groups and could be seen praying fervently, crying out to God for mercy on America.

Kenny Xu, 23, Chinese-American and a Baptist from Princeton, New Jersey, who now works in fundraising in the Washington, D.C., metro area, went to the Lincoln Memorial to pray specifically for racial reconciliation.

"I think this country is facing a very odious racial ideology that divides people on the basis of race. Under Christ Jesus, people of all nations can come together and be unified. And I think that that's being lost with the protests and riots going on," Xu said.

"I pray this nation can turn back to Jesus and that we can love each other and forgive each other. I think both supposed "sides" have to have a spirit of forgiveness."